Not The Way It Is Supposed To Be …

election-7The cost of election 2016 is estimated to reach $6.6 billion by November 8th.  Let me repeat that number: $6.6 billion.  Dollars.  How many families could have been fed for that amount?  I don’t know, as I have no concept, no frame of reference, of what $6.6 billion looks like.  A quick calculation shows that this is more than 90,000 times the annual income of the average working-class family. So, perhaps a simplistic way of thinking about it is that we could have fed, housed and clothed 90 thousand families for the money spent on advertising, charter planes, hotels, steak dinners, and venues for events.  Or we could have gone a long way toward replacing parts of our aging infrastructure. We could have used that money to help young people go to college. Instead, we got $6.6 billion worth of annoyance and grief for a year.  To be clear, only a mere $1.3 billion was spent on the presidential election, the rest on senate and house races.

election-5But there is a much more significant cost, in addition to the $6.6 billion, and it is beyond measure.  I refer to the human cost, the cost to our society.  Much has changed in the last 16 months in this country, and it is no longer one that I am particularly proud to be a part of.  So much mud has been flung in every direction, that eventually the citizens, We The People, decided it was easier to just play in the mud than to keep ducking mud balls.  Easier to get down and dirty with the rest, rather than try to keep ourselves above the muck.  We no longer have thoughtful conversations where each person actually listens to the other and even considers his/her point of view.  We have, just as the candidates have, resorted to shouting matches and name-calling.  We have driven wedges between ourselves and our friends and family.  And while we lay the blame at the doorstep of the candidates, it seems to me that as adults, we should have been capable of rising above the filth, of making our own choices.  It is rather like a child, when castigated for doing something wrong, saying “but he did it first!”  But we are not children, though we have certainly acted like it for the past year.

election-6The greater cost of this election is the cost to ourselves, our self-respect.  Today, in the heat of election day, we still will not see that, but in a week or two, we will look back at our behaviour, tally our losses, and ask ourselves, “what have I done?” Much of the damage that has been done to the nation, to the political parties, and to us as individuals will take years, perhaps even decades, to repair.  Some may prove to be irreparable. It has, for some of us, taken a personal toll on our health, both mental and physical. Sleep patterns, appetites, the ability to be ‘in the moment’, to focus on conversations or tasks at hand are minimized.

election-3In less than three months, a new president will sit in the White House.  It may end in disaster or it may not, but one thing is for certain, our country will never be quite the same again, nor will we.  We will see ourselves and others through a different lens, and the scars of this year will be visible for a long time, perhaps forever. This is not the way it is supposed to be.

election-8

11 thoughts on “Not The Way It Is Supposed To Be …

    • Thanks, Jack! Yes, in truth that is all that most of us can do … just be the best person we can and make a bit of a positive difference to those around us. ‘Goits’? That’s one I’ve never heard before! 🙂

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  1. Very well said. I have always cringed at the amount of money that is wasted on elections and it seems to grow each time. There is so much good that could be done with that money! And the mud stains will remain long after this election where the rules seem to have gone out the window and it’s every man or woman to themselves! Gone is civil discourse; gone is civility itself. And I do blame the media in large measure for lowering the bar and catering to the lowest common denominator. Our is now a world where reality is made-up by the entertainment industry and folks are losing touch with the real (actual) world and with each other.

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    • Well, you are right, of course, but I like to think that as long as there are people like us around, people who know how to think, who know how to rise above the muck and consider facts, history, science, etc., there is hope for the world after all. That is why we simply cannot stop doing what we do!

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  2. Dear Jill,

    The election season needs to be shortened; the supreme court’s decision on the Citizen’s United case reversed; President Obama and others have to successfully fix gerrymandering methods to better reflect all state’s residents; U.S. Congress has to pass new “voting rights” legislation; and finally, all monies donated to campaigns needs to be transparent. All LAWS WHICH CAN RESTRICT VOTERS’ ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX NEEDS TO BE DOA.

    NEWS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA:

    Early voting statistics from Florida show around one million of the 6.2 million early votes cast were by the Hispanic population. That’s a 75 per cent increase from 2012, according to the New York Times.

    “So far, 36 per cent of the 907,000 Hispanics who have voted in 2016 didn’t vote by any method in 2012. That’s a full 12 points higher than whites, and will likely be the key to who wins the presidency.”

    Dear Republicans:

    It doesn’t pay to dish :Nasty Women” from Puerto Rico.

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  3. Given the circus act that has been masquerading as electioneering, I completely agree with your comments. However, while your country may never be the same again, and while that is obviously an important aspect to you, your country may never be seen the same again by the rest of the world and that should be a significant concern. I have no doubt that you and I will agree that the world today is a very small place. So much trade has been negotiated internationally, and so many are now exploiting their “commercial strengths” and outsourcing their “weaknesses” i.e Any country that thinks it can survive on its own economically and without undue hardship is, I would suggest, functioning with a modern “dark ages” mentality. The next 12 months are going to be really interesting from an academic perspective, and of great concern from a humanitarian perspective.

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    • Yes, you make excellent points! There is certainly more at stake here than domestic politics, but the potential to completely change the ‘global order’. A bit frightening … no, I take that back … A LOT frightening!

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